Would the fact Harry gave "The Archive" a name, Ivy, and she took to it, mean that Harry knows her true name, a la Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden?


  1. Ivy is capable of being named.

  2. Ivy took the name as part of her identity.


Not likely... but it still may be significant.

Ivy is only part of her identity. She was alive and active as the Archive for some time (admittedly, not long) before she met Harry. Ivy may be an accepted name, and how Dresden sees her, but it's not the entirety of who she is. So it's rather unlikely that just "Ivy" can be used as her true name; or if it is, like all magical mortals, she'd probably have to give it back to Harry, precisely and with intent, for Harry to use it that way, much like Harry gave pieces of his name away deliberately.

With a big however... this isn't even the only time such a thing happens, and it's implied Harry is dabbling in a way he doesn't understand.

Since Dresden actually prides himself on coming up with nicknames, here's a lengthy list of examples (later books have been spoiler marked)...

  • In Summer Knight the plant monster gets immediately dubbed chlorofiend, although the name never sticks as Harry has to explain it every time.
  • In Death Masks, on learning the Archive has no name, she is promptly dubbed Ivy, as noted in your question.
  • In White Night, Lasciel's Shadow gets nicknamed Lash, and in the end Lash becomes an entity with it's own separate identity from Lasciel.
  • In Small Favor, Dresden tires of the overly long "Order of the Blackened Denarius", and begins referring to them as Nickelheads.

  • In Turn Coat, the naming of the island Demonreach is treated as significant by the spirit of the island itself. Later on in Skin Game, even being given a silly "first name" is given some serious thought by the island.
  • Also in Turn Coat, the skinwalker is dubbed Shagnasty, and this is specifically called out as an attempt to lessen the fear surrounding the creature.
  • In Ghost Story, Uriel, the archangel, is briefly called Uri, and this prompts an immediate and harsh reaction from the angel, a fairly scary one considering Uriel could simply unmake Harry with a thought if he got on his bad side. Harry backpedals but then immediately settles on Mr. Sunshine, which Uriel seems to grudgingly permit.
  • In Cold Days, the Outsider creature is named Sharkface, long before it is learned what it actually is.

  • While Harry might not be actually creating true names - and probably wouldn't have a prayer, literally, of changing some of them - it's possible his constant habit of nicknaming can have a subtle effect on identity. After all, a lot of magic in this series operates on rules of perception. Anytime Harry tries to explain his spellwork he throws in how this element or that color fits the way he thinks. He also lampshades his own habit of nicknaming, and admits that he's humanizing and removing some of the mystique of these beings deliberately. If Harry is changing how people (even himself) view these entities, or changing how they see themselves, that's definitely significant, and the reaction of several of them to his habit seems to confirm he's doing something. Whether that's significant just for character development, or whether such a tenuous link could actually be useful magically speaking, to Harry or anyone else, remains to be seen.

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    • Where's that quote from? Curious to read the rest of the article. – eshier May 30 '18 at 20:09
    • @eshier - Not an article, just me, and educated guessing / speculation with the patterns Butcher wrote. Slapped spoiler block on it because I'm not certain where OP is in series, and I still consider Mr Sunshine's increased involvement spoiler worthy. – Radhil May 30 '18 at 20:16
    • Gotcha. Not sure I even realized it was spoiler text when I asked. Thanks. – eshier May 30 '18 at 20:18
    • Just to expand on the topic in the answer: it is implied (or maybe even explied somewhere) that Harry's naming Lasciel's Shadow, even just with a nickname, was enough for it to consider, and then ultimately gaining some sort of independence. There's a mention of free will somewhere in connection to that, if I remember correctly. So while all that nicknaming was not gaining power for Harry, it was definitely granting some. Will it backfire or give awesome fruits sometime later? Who knows, but it definitely gains Harry some loyal friends. Is that power? – AcePL Jul 19 '18 at 15:41
    • He wasn't just tired of calling them "Denarians", but names can be heard by the entities (or others), especially given that the Nicodemus (the top Nicklehead) could (or his Fallen) hear anything spoken in shadows, and presumably paid more attention to certain words/names. – John C May 13 at 19:24

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